Professor of Ophthalmology and Radiology
Harvard Medical School
1977 A.B.(summa cum laude) Princeton University
1981 Ph.D.(Psychology) MIT
2010 to present Professor of Radiology, Harvard Medical School
2003 to present Faculty Affiliate, Division of Sleep Medicine, Harvard Medical School
2002 to present Professor of Ophthalmology (with tenure), Harvard Medical School
Honors and Awards:
2011 Keynote Address, Asian Conference on Visual Perception (Hong Kong)
2011 Fellow of the American Psychological Association (Division 21)
2010 Keynote Address, Association for Psychological Science
2009 Fellow of the Eastern Psychological Association
2009 Distinguished Scientific Contribution, New England Psychological Association
Why didn’t I see that? The role of attention in visual search errors.
We cannot simultaneously recognize every object in our field of view. As a result, we deploy attention from object to object or place to place, searching for what we need. This is true whether we are looking for the cat in the bedroom or cancerous “nodules” in a lung CT. We do not search at random. Our attention is guided by the features of the targets we seek and the structure of the scenes in which those targets are embedded. Again, this is true whether that scene is a bedroom or a lung. Unfortunately, our search engine does not work perfectly and we sometimes fail to find what we seek. When those missed targets are such things as tumors or bombs, these errors are socially significant, worth understanding and, if possible, correcting. In this talk, I will illustrate some of the basic principles of human visual attention and I will present data showing how those principles play out in the realm of medical image perception.